Saturday, October 20, 2018

Comments by rasselas.redux

Showing 100 of 539 comments. Show all.

  • It’s heartening always to read articles like these that encourage honesty and non-pretentiousness. It isn’t a particularly popular message, and probably never will be, because it doesn’t offer anyone an escape hatch. And people grow accustomed to their escape hatches. Some even refuse to stand anywhere other than directly above one.

    Honestly, I believe, is always the best medicine. Everyone fucks up from time to time. When power is abused it’s often to conceal personal errors. And that ultimately just serves the beast.

  • “If it has locked doors you’re an inmate, if you come and go under your own power you’re an outmate. Why is this difficult?”

    Don’t forget the shake-it-all-about-mates.

    This is a very, very slow train to liberation. Must be disheartening every time a jet flies over. None of this was or probably is a necessary distraction for the vast majority of people caught up in psychiatric dramas or even those that have found new non-psychiatric dramas to involve themselves in.

    One thing many of us here trapped under the line to endlessly react to an agenda we have no control over… is that we made a way out of psychiatric oppression, to greater or lesser degrees, pretty much entirely by our own will, with very little to no assistance from “professionals”.

    In other words, we rebelled without a guidebook.

    I wonder if I had access to Levine’s guidebook things would have turned out differently?

    Would I still be thinking my rightful place is below the line, or that the endless wait for a train that will probably never arrive is a noble pursuit in life, and that I should work on the envy I feel every time a jet flies overhead?

    Just in case I’m not ignored here — as is usually the case — please don’t embarrass yourself trying to answer these questions.

  • Poison Ivy wrote: “sex abuse survivors don’t lie about how we were abused and by whom.”

    Well, non-sex abuse survivors do in actual fact lie about how they were abused and by whom. Here is an example of a false accuser brought to justice:

    “Jemma Beale, 25, from west London, invented four separate incidents of sexual assault, one of which led to man being wrongly convicted”

    Unfortunately, there are, have been and will go on to be liars who make false allegations for all kinds of reasons, including baffling unreasons.

    They undermine authentic survivors but remind us never to automatically believe anyone lest we inadvertently involve ourselves in human rights abuses.

  • bippyone wrote: “there is no question in my mind that the label of madness is detrimental to a person.”

    Because there isn’t a question in your mind it doesn’t follow that there are no questions to be asked. In many contexts the nouns “mad” and “madness” do not connote something undesirable or even stigmatised. The mad artist, the mad poet, the mad hatter. They are quirky, interesting and attractive tropes.

    Also when people do mad things, like jump out of planes without a parachute (to inspire people), they will frequently be described as mad, and their daredevilness as a mad act. And not a whisper of condemnation will he heard.

    So madness isn’t the problem. Being mad isn’t the problem either. And the nouns mad and madness are definitely not the problem.

    So what is the problem?

    The problem is how the mad person channels the madness into mad acts. It’s how the madness is acted out, in a mad performance, that is the problem.

    Find a way to act out the madness in a way that society accepts (or can learn to accept) and now what was once considered a problem, is an asset.

    As Foucault points out, when leprosy retreated from europe, the mad started to be persecuted. It is possible, I believe, to bring back some of those medieval sociocultural accommodations of madness. It’s not all doom and gloom. And it isn’t necessary to forever fixate on psychiatry and the psychiatric process. Doing so is likely to be self-debasing.

  • After making comment on the Trump Anxiety Disorder is Fake News post by Chris Coombs, I was looking out on a limb with my views.

    But, albeit in a much less developed way, they do kinda align with Thrift and Sugarman.

    It seems crazy that at this stage of the game there isn’t a coherent understanding or consensus about what social justice means, or even looks like. But I agree that it shouldn’t look like a backdoored medical model in psychotherapeutic contexts.

    Probably the biggest problem is the depoliticised landscape. It started here with Thatcher, and Rupert Murdoch, and changing the working class culture from collective to individualist.

    There seems to be a natural tendency for oppressed social groups to veer towards the left. So the “safe spaces” are by and large forbidden from engaging in or encouraging political discourse. If this isn’t adhered to the organisation risks losing its charity status, and funding.

    Goes to show how the banner of social justice can be waved by psychologists who are effectively promoting an individualist agenda.

    The only possible way I can see to subvert these problems and get the better of the situation is through the encouragement, by psychologists, of collective art-forms, such as theatre and film, of the disruptive kind.

  • Unlike the above posters I haven’t had the luxury of sampling many different kinds of psychotherapy and so can’t really be as bold about it as I can be about forced treatment with thermonuclear brain-bombs.

    I do not trust Open Dialogue in the UK. The UK mental health system is now very closely aligned to a new regionalised secret service system and they are also routinely involved in various human rights abuses in terms of covert surveillance. Considering that laws have been passed in this country of the “neither confirm nor deny” type, I have absolutely no reason to believe that any dialogue within the mental health system could be considered open or transparent.

  • “People get anxious about a number of things which are scary.” As well as things which most people would not consider scary at all. “Trump is scary and dangerous” to some people. “People willingly seek out counseling to talk about any number of reasonable anxieties they face in life.” I wish I wasn’t so troubled by other peoples’ language use as much as I am at times, but why the “willingly”? And people also seek out counselling to talk about any number of unreasonable anxieties too.

    In fact, why would anyone seek out counselling for reasonable anxieties about things that most people find scary? Why give someone money except to help you with unreasonable anxieties about things most people don’t find scary?

    Any ideas, Shaun?

  • People are discussing their anxieties about the Donald Trump presidency with their counsellors and therapists and the media has latched on to the fact that one of them had, tongue-in-cheek, described the phenomenon as Trump Anxiety Disorder.

    You think this is wrong because calling peoples’ anxieties about the Donald Trump presidency a disorder, even if doing so jokingly, strips their anxieties of social context.

    I fail to see how jokingly referring to people seeking out therapists and who discuss their anxieties about Donald Trump as having a disorder strips them of their social context.

    Firstly, the social context is that people are seeking out therapy for their sociopolitical anxieties. In other words, to some extent, they are pathologising themselves. There is something wrong with me, there is something wrong with my anxieties about the Donald Trump presidency, therefore I must strip myself of social context by individualising my anxieties and seeking a one-to-one individualised context.

    Secondly, and by consequence of the first, if said people are desocialising their anxieties, through seeking individualised therapies for their sociopolitical anxieties, is it sensible to consider them and their motivations to be ordered (ie. not disordered)? I mean, if a person has a tendency towards individualising sociopolitical anxieties, and seeking therapy for them, rather than engaging in social action, might they fall under the umbrella of narcissistic?

    And — I mean neither to condemn nor support the Trump presidency, as I experience it as pure entertainment — but you condemn him as narcissistic — a veritable disorder — and yet seem to fail to see the narcissism of seeking out individualistic solutions to sociopolitical anxieties.

  • Lithium, after a point, is toxic to all cells in the body, only it tends to affect the brain and the kidneys moreso than elsewhere as that is where it mostly concentrates. Is my understanding (gleaned in part from the great tome of Manic Depressive Illness by Goodwin and Jamison).

    Lithium is a dumbing-down drug, by and large. It seriously impairs the intellect in many people. That can be permanent.

    As Doug Stanhope once observed, most of the psychiatric drugs are dumbing-down drugs. A complaint often made by psychotherapists was that their manic patients were outfoxing them. And that lithium was effective at putting a stop to that.

    So if you’re too quick-witted, lithium or antipsychotic. If you bore the hell out of people, ssri. If you are a pain-in-the-arse, ritalin.

    And if youre tediously emotional, then benzos.

    It’s a game of cat and mouse.

  • “Aren’t they aware that lithium, a nutrient, has been a treatment for mood dysregulation for decades?”

    That’s a deceptive statement. Lithium predominantly acts as a nutrient at low doses (1mg or less). It is not given to people at these doses for the treatment of mood dysregulation. For the latter it is given in much higher doses (150mg and +) and at these doses acts predominantly as a psychoactive drug.

    Would anyone claim that 150mg+ of lithium was nutritional therapy?

  • I agree with you that there are far too many people popping opioids that could be far more humanely helped via other methods, such as excercise, qigong and other oriental approaches to bodily balance, and perhaps psychotherapy as PTSD and childhood trauma can manifest in some people as physical pain.

    I disagree with your hypothesis that functional disorders such as fibromyalgia were invented to create a market for drugs. There are genuine sufferers and they deserve help.

    On a personal level, I avoid all painkillers, pretty much all of the time. I prefer to know what’s happening in my body. But not everyone is an extreme masochist like me.

    Actually one time I did take opioids was following a triple nose surgery. Yes, I have three noses. The surgeon prescribed codeine. It enabled me to lay on my back in bliss, as recommended, to help the nose heal correctly. It made me appreciate just why some people in horrendous emotional pain would seek out such drugs.

    I tried street heroin once, when I turned 40. I didn’t like it. I was alone on Christmas Day for the first time and it did help take the edge off. I have no desire to ever do it again.

    But again it made me appreciate why people in tremendous emotional pain would be attracted to it. And given the world we live in, no-one hardly has much time for people in emotional pain. They are considered an irritant.

  • I successfully stopped taking antipsychotics 20 years ago. 800mg twice a day Amisulpride for nearly 3 years. Prior to that 11 months of a torturing depot injection at a much too high dose (intentionally I believe). And prior to that a year or so of Thioridazine (which I abused, regularly taking twice the recommended daily dose in one day, then fibbing that I’d lost them when my script ran out).

    I did it alone. Secretly. I was in very impoverished circumstances. I was heavily reliant on tobacco (for reasons those in the know, know) and decided to do the antipsychotics first, then address the nicotine afterwards. So often it was a choice between having a little bit of food, electricity and gas heating, or, maintaining a supply of tobacco. So’s I would mostly choose the tobacco. I had no money for clothes. Public transport. I had no phone. No TV. No washing machine. I was very isolated and would regularly go days, sometimes weeks, without human contact. The most regular contact I had was with the pharmacist to pick up the pills. I’d then come home, dissolve them in water, and pour them down the sink.

    What kept me going was walking. I’d walk and walk and walk for miles through the countryside, off the beaten track. Other times I’d spend most of my waking days lying down.

    It took about 3 months to start to feel something approaching normal.

    I continued to keep it quiet for over a year. And then people started lauding me as a drug success story. My conscience got the better of me and I fessed up. I felt a peculiar guilt, like I’d let people down. But I soon got over that.

  • Desinquisiteur wrote: “There is no critical biology, no critical physic, not even critical psychology.”

    Except there is a critical psychology.

    Wikipedia wrote:

    “Critical psychology is a perspective on psychology that draws extensively on critical theory. Critical psychology challenges mainstream psychology and attempts to apply psychological understandings in more progressive ways, often looking towards social change as a means of preventing and treating psychopathology.

    One of critical psychology’s main criticisms of conventional psychology is that it fails to consider or deliberately ignores the way power differences between social classes and groups can affect the mental and physical well-being of individuals or groups of people. It does this, in part, because it tends to explain behavior at the level of the individual.”


    The man who developed the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques for use at black sites and Guantanamo Bay was… a psychologist, James Mitchell.

  • I enjoyed reading this. It made me chuckle a few times. I’m not in the frame of mind to feel much motivated to defend people suffering from functional disorders such as fibromyalgia. You seem very dismissive of them. I suppose some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others. But if it’s ruining someone’s life, popping pills is probably the lesser of two evils. Certainly chronic insomnia induced by unremitting pain would be nothing to scoff at.

    But scoff some will and no matter.

    What advice would you give a sufferer of fybromyalgia? “Stop being a sissy and get over yourself?”

    Actually, my GP would probably say that. He doesn’t mince his words.

  • I’m not an ignoramaus so’s I’ll bash out a reply just as soon as I feel confident that my prose gives me the edge.

    In the meantime try and think of one thing about yourself that no other human being possesses. You are not allowed to say “my mind” because it’s an hallucination and thus doesn’t exist. Something which doesn’t exist is not unique.

  • It’s a sensible statement.

    Forced treatment is a power given to psychiatric systems by the government. Abolishing psychiatric systems will not address the issue of force. In such a scenario the government would opt to give an equivalent power to some other system.

    I would expect currently non-force and anti-force professional bodies would be clamoring to fill the gap should the opportunity arise.

    The only meaningful struggle is to fight for the furtherance of human rights for the mentally disabled. And even then, there would have to be exceptions, some compromise, for a government to even consider it.

  • Thanks for the theoretical considerations, Steve. But I fail to see how any of what you have written above would have stood any chance whatsoever helping poor Akmal Shaikh or anyone like him in a similar pickle.

  • Maybe it would’ve, maybe it wouldn’t’ve. Who knows?

    Point is though that, unlike Chika Honda, Akmal Shaikh was manic. Impulsive. Erratic and ebullient. He was high and, therefore, vulnerable. He was especially vulnerable because he had not been officially diagnosed, despite what Repreive were asserting at the time. Alike Chika Honda, he required a competent translator. Although not to interpret his words, but to interpret his mental state.

    I want to live in a world in which people like Chika Honda and Akmal Shaikh have full human rights in all situations. If you speak a different language you have the right to a competent language interpreter. If you have a mental condition such as untreated bipolar, you have the right to a mental *interpretation* by a competent psychiatrist.

    If you deny that people like Akmal Shaikh have a right to assessment by a competent psychiatrist, then that equates to denying that people like Chika Honda have the right to a competent interpreter.

    And in both cases, because this is the Planet Earth and not Planet Vulcan, having one’s rights asserted and protected does not guarantee an outcome, but it does set a standard humanity is best aspriring to, without exception.

    It’s interesting too that Chika Honda has attracted the rallying cries for justice and even had a film made about her. And rightly so, and I stand with those who call for her pardon.

    But people like Akmal Shaikh are rapidly forgotten. You will hardly ever hear mention of their names. Their stories slip into oblivion very rapidly.

  • “Rather than recognising that neuroplasticity means we hans are all, entirely unique and our way of developing uniqueness is also entirely unique.

    Patterns can be found anywhere, even a snowstorm. That doesn’t mean the patterns are the important thing to note.”

    Human beings are not entirely unique. In fact, it goes even further than that. For a long time our anthropocentrism got the better of us, and our long-gone cousins were depicted in science and popular culture as entirely unique, bestial. Whereas, cor blimey and strike a light, it’s now understood that they weren’t entirely unique, but humblingly very alike indeed. Just read about the neanderthals in europe.

    It’s interesting — to me at least — that the same people that claim snowflake uniqueness are also often to be found aggrandising Jung. And Jung gave rise to the Myers Briggs testing of personality types…

    People are not entirely unique. Even one hominid compared to another, are not entirely unique. And what a horror show it would be if we were. What a desperately lonely planet…

    “We need to give up on trying to find ways to categorise and isolate ourselves and each other and look around, smell the roses, check out the incredible diversity of the world.”

    Yeah man. Like ants and frogs and tuna. Noted for their interpersonal uniqueness?

    Smell the rose in Prague or smell the Rose in Kentucky. Not the same rose but close your eyes and you could be anywhere.

    “A world where it should be possible to seek genuine help without either labelling or shame. Or both.”

    Do you extend this to the socially more acceptable (although nonetheless stigmatising) diagnoses such as fibromyalgia and migraine headaches?

  • Just to add, our PM at the time expressed his horror that Akmal did not even get a psychiatric evaluation of his mental state prior to his execution.

    Another triumph for antipsychiatry?

  • I mean to ask, Why is only one of the ten people involved in the Mad in the UK collective willing to have their identity out in the open?

    One of the abiding aspects of Mad in America I respect is that the identity of everyone involved in its running is proudly shared. Way to go.

  • “The collective is at present composed of 10 people with varying and overlapping backgrounds and interests. 7 of us have survivor experience and 5 of us have MH professional backgrounds (and some have both).”

    Why the lack of transparency from the off?

  • What a brilliant idea! And very-well executed. I hope this takes off and becomes a regular feature.

    Psychiatrists get shunned here often, so, while noting the background to how the idea formed, it’s good nonetheless that this is being fronted by a would-be psychiatrist. It’s in all our interests to get behind substantial reform. And to do that means confronting a lot of controversy.

    Although, I hope the initiative doesn’t descend into a New Age melodrama and keeps its feet on the ground.

    Best of luck!

  • I live in the UK. Our police don’t have the mentality of a rapid response armed military unit.

    You want the freedom to carry guns just in case of civil war or a foreign invasion, so’s you can shoot missiles and armed drones down? Then, you have to take the consequences…

  • Thanks for the kindly words.

    There are so many problems with our mental health systems, it can be quite dispiriting thinking about it.

    In the UK the best chance many people have is to assert their NHS right to choose under the patient’s charter. That involves getting a GP on board and playing abacus with the keepers of the purse-strings, the Clinical Commissioning Group. And then having the staying power of Joseph K…

    Forced treatment is wrong in many cases, I agree. But there are times when certain individuals would never see the light of day unless it was implemented.

    Power imbalances in psychiatric health systems can be very frightening, I agree. Although, in many ways, that is their intended function. A lot of the processes are deliberately intended to bring about behavioral and attitudinal change through classic behavioral techniques. I have yet to meet a psychiatric survivor who has not tempered down their self as a consequence of being tortured or abused, or treated if you prefer. So, unfortunately, these brutal techniques do their work. I suppose those that don’t change, end up dead. Like McMurphy.

  • People have become unhealthily obsessed with the utility of nouns!

    Late Saturday night my old dog suffered a stroke. That’s the name the vet gave it early this morning. If you dig deeper, and are of a maddeningly pedantic bent, strictly speaking it wasn’t a stroke. It was a cerebrovascular accident arising from vestibular disease. Bit of a mouthful, uh… and what does that even mean to a non-veterinarian?

    So my poor old buddy suffered a stroke and when I say that, you know immediately what I am talking about, in very general terms. The word facilitates an instant understanding. Of sorts.

    Now not every stroke in a dog (or cerebrovascular accident arising from vestibular disease) manifests in exactly the same way, but there are some common factors and the prognosis varies too, depending on the underlying causes, the fitness of the dog prior to the event and so on and so forth etc.

    Steve, I’m not much invested in what-ifs when it comes to these real-life issues. It’s way too serious when you’re invested some way in life-threatening conditions such as borderline, there really isn’t time to take-five and expend time imagining how differemt things could be if there was a sociocultural revolution which supplanted psychiatry and replaced all its diagnostic nouns with pregnant pauses and knowing looks.

    In much the same way the vet chose a convenient shorthand. Was she wrong to do that? Would it have been better, if, when I asked her what was wrong with my dog, she squeezed my hand, and said, “Don’t ask me what is wrong with your dog. Ask me what happened to your dog?”

    When really I knew already what had happened to my dog. It was bloody clear what had happened to my dog. What I wanted to know was what was now in this moment and henceforth wrong with my dog and what could I do to help my dog get back on his feet? What could I do to increase the probablity that the crazy little bugger didn’t snuff it?

    I don’t mean to make light of these issues.

    What if I got entangled in a debate with the vet that dragged on for 20 years or more? Me endlessly insisting that there was no such thing as stroke, that it was too generalised, that it didn’t matter, that it was a completely unnecessary term and so on. And encouraged others to invest their energies into that? When those same energies could be more sensibly invested in self-learning and overcoming and personal betterment…

    What if every time I encountered a vet I took them to one side and insisted there was no such thing as a dog stroke. That stroke was a completely meaningless and pointless and deceptive term to apply to dogs? What if I pointed out that so few studies had been conducted on dogs that no-one had a freakin’ clue what a stroke actually was in a dog? And so on?

    I wouldn’t be wrong, but would I be wise?

    Would would be the point? I do all that and take a moment to check the hound and he’s dead and done for…

    The majority of people I encounter online and in real-life don’t have a hang-up about psychiatric nouns. Reading here you get a very different impression. It’s not representative of the bigger picture in that sense. But no-one is stopping people setting up their own countercultural subgroups in which they can choose their own preferred nouns, or none at all. They can do whatever they like.

    Besides, in Europe, in the UK, borderline is on the way out. It’s a dying noun. In it’s place we have emotionally unstable personality disorder. EUPD. A kind of dark unintended homage to brexit.

    To conclude, I respect your position. I don’t agree with it. But I can live with it. I hope the people that reject psychiatry find their peace and their personal meaning and reach a place of livable equanimity for themselves and the people around them. But I would also ask that these same people pull their hands away from their faces at times and come to terms with the fact that many people *are* helped by psychiatry. I know it’s hard, I’ve been there, I know…

    There are proven therapies like Linehan’s DBT and Fonagy and Bateman’s MBT and so on that have great potential in helping people, especially at the more severe end of sufferimg. I want to see a world where people get a medical diagnosis such as borderline and that then opens doors to substantive medical help. I believe that stands a greater chance of coming to fruition in the world we live in. You will disagree and so will others and I have no problem with that. I’m not interested in scoring intellectual points or proving I have the biggest balls in the text box (well, not all the time…)

    That’s me done.

  • @ Steve McCrea

    Thanks for eliminating my previous comments. However, a point I made in one of them is that the struggle for people with Borderline in particular to access therapy is a form of medical neglectfulness. So they are given a medical label and then that label perversely bars them from accessing appropriate medical help ie intensive and long-term psychotherapy.

    What therapies work for borderline personality disorder? I’m aware of three, which are structured, long-term and intensive. DBT, MBT and schema therapy, two of which make 24/7 crisis phone support available to the suffering person. As the two youtube women engaged in overcoming their difficulties I linked to underlined, you have to ultimately be engaged in wanting to get better. A therapist is really only a guide and someone to lean on.

    If you don’t think there is anything wrong with people with a peronality disorder, whether that be borderline, narcissistic or antisocial, then you are effectively denying their suffering and their pain, and the horrendous pain and turmoil they can bring into the lives of others.

    Calling these people self-centred is maybe an accurate generalism at turns, but is probably more dehumanising than validating their problems with a diagnosis.

    Yes, we are better off focusing on the behavior itself. I’m not sure how you would go about doing that if you also think there is nothing wrong with these people. The whole point of therapy is to address behaviour, and the underlying thinking processes, and helping someone’s social and moral compass develop in a way that brings more harmony rather than strife and endless conflict to their relationships.

  • My last two comments, while reasonable, weren’t what I really wanted to say. I was typing on eggshells.

    If you are concerned about damage to people, then the untreated personality disordered individual’s damage to others is by and large considerably greater than the damage of them being diagnosed with a label that points to their toxic problems.

    In fact, fighting against the diagnosis is one huge red herring in many ways.

    People are entitled to use a diagnosis towards someone that is, by all accounts, potentially very damaging. I think that ordinary people deserve to be both informed and, if possible, pre-warned. We are talking about people, especially at the severe end of the scale, who can seriously and lastingly damage an others’ emotional and physical wellbeing in ways you could just not anticipate or prepare for if you didn’t have a deep handle on what you were getting yourself involved in.

    As Rachel777 referred to, albeit complainingly, there are now victim-groups online just for people damaged by personality disordered individuals. I don’t believe that this is because these victim-groups all have dark senses of humour that some people struggle to understand. There are therapists that specialise in helping people recover from their personality disordered exes. Again, I don’t think these therapists are having a laugh at others’ expense.

    Again, down here on terra firma people are getting seriously fucked up and fucked over by untreated personality-disordered individuals, and the afteraffects are commonly indistinguishable from PTSD.

    Borderlines, in particular, are amongst the most challenging — and potentially life-threatening — individuals you will ever draw close to in your life, if you dare to become involved with them in anything other than a structured, time-limited, and escape-hatch-provided setting. They can very easily drive the uninitiated temporarily insane. Most therapists advise untreated borderlines to abstain from relationships. In fact, that is stellar advice.

    Yes, many of them were victims as children. No-one can change that, unfortnately. What can potentially be changed is the toxic and “crazy-making” patterns of interaction. A person with a personality disorder, now that they are an adult, with moral responsibilities, can be helped to grow into a reflective, conscionable, and functioing individual. That process can take many, many years.

    There is a great deal of variance betwen individuals that attract the diagnosis of borderline. But those 9 core symptoms are bang on. I think that psychiatry has this diagnosis right. I also think they have narcissitic personality disorder nailed. And antisocial personality disorder seems pretty airtight too. I don’t have enough knowledge or experience of the others to make comment.

    I would not recommend anyone getting into a close relationship with an untreated personality disordered person. You may come back at me and accuse me of this, that and the other. But I’m talking about real world, intimate involvement, in which you will be laying your soul bare. Not typing in text boxes. Or attending 2-hour workshops. Or conducting a 30 minute appointment. I’m talking about normal, unstructured, non-professionalised, non-economised, human relationships.

    It is a public health issue. For the individual with the untreated personality disorder and the people in their lives and who have contact with them. It is a serious public health issue that absolutely must be allocated the necessary resources. And yet it isn’t, and individuals and society are impacted terribly by this neglect.

  • (excuse me, I’m off on one…)

    Just to add, and I have her permission to share these things. My missus is diagnosed with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder aka Borderline. She’s had a very positive impact on my life. She’s brought order, routine, and caused me to engage in a lot of self-reflection. She’s also brought, at turns, huge amounts of stress and chaos and worry and fear and conflict. More than I ever thought possible. Now, I chose this. And I choose to continue with this. I cam either perish or grow stronger. I choose to grow stronger. I choose to become more self-aware, less reactive, more in tune with my own emotions and feelings. Like I say, it could easily go the other way. I could be destroyed. I could be a victim. I could find it all overwhelming and bail out. Sometimes I imagine myself doing that.

    Standard knee-jerk response to the call – no, the righteous demand — that people like my belle should be given long-term substantive help is this: it costs too much money.

    That’s a lie.

    Truth is that all the ambulances, the A&E visits, the police involvement are big drains on resources. Far bigger than simply allocating appropriate resources. Now I’ve come to appreciate why we’re fortunate to live in the area we do. The police here are brilliant. They’ve applied their resources on many occasions to locate her and help her keep safe. There have been times when they have stayed with her, many times, until they are satisfied that she is safe. One time two officers remained with her for about 12 hours. 12 hours they stayed with her in the hosiptal until some other medical agency assured them she was now safe. That’s four officers taken off the beat for 12 hours (2 came to the end of their shift and 2 took over). They’ve allocated multiple officers and resources to locate her when she’s been suicidal. And when they’ve found her they’ve been kindly, firm yet kind. As some may appreciate, she can be quite fruity with her language when in crisis. But even still, not once have the police acted in a way that anyone could condemn. They’ve been outstanding.

    And over and over again the conversation happens. The police ask, quite rightly, where is the help? Why must our resources be used to manage crisis care? Where are the crisis teams, the clinical management teams? And they are right, aren’t they. In our topsy-turvey world, the paymasters are blinkered. If they can show a saving here, they ignore the additional, and probably much higher cost, elsewhere. It’s supposed to be joined up. There have been multiple initiatives to join things up. But it remains the case that those best equipped to help people in crisis, are the least resourced to do so.

    Of course, the police are the best resourced to locate someone in crisis and ensure their safety. But then they should be able to seamlessly hand someone over.

    But there are virtually no crisis resources. They are no pre-crisis services whatsoever. None. They’ve all gone. Now some of you antipsychiatrists would see that as a triumph. It is not a triumph. It’s a travesty.

    I iwsh I had the wherewithal to do something about this. I’ve known for a long time what needs to be done. I know who the major players are. The people with the power and the influence to do something. The way I see it, she and others like her, are experiencing systemic medical neglect. It’s gone on for so long now that it’s what people wind up expecting. And so the suicides go up. The tragedies become more frequent. The police and general medicine play a bigger and bigger role. And the paymasters boast about saving money. And as I say, that’s a crooked lie.

    Another example: a few days ago a motorway that runs through nearby here ground to a halt. It remained that way heading north for nearly 3 hours. This was at peak time. Why? A person in crisis was hanging over the bridge, threatening to jump. Now these days, such is the contempt that’s been steadily increasing in this society, people get out of their cars and goad them to “just do it” so they can carry on about their way. That’s the world we’re living in. But why are they there? Why have they chosen to hang over a motorway bridge and threaten to leap? Because there is no-where else to turn. Because pre-crisis and crisis responses have been almost entirely removed from our society. Desperate people are driven to take desperate measures. And the public, by and large, condemns them, despises them, for wasting everyones’ time and using up resources. What the general public don’t often understand is that the crisis resources have been depleted. That that person threatening to jump, and that’s disrupting all their lives, is likely the victim of systemic medical neglect.

    And it concerns me that some antipsychiatrists would consider their inability to access help, as a wonderful development.

    But how do the medical services get away with it? And I think we’re back to the contempt in society for victims of childhood abuse and neglect. There is even perhaps an unconscious societal death-wish underlying all this. In the UK, this contempt for disordered people, disabled people in general, is more apparent now than it ever was, with the systemic (and, probably by measure of our own laws, criminal) persecution and punishment of people with disabilities and problems of self, and our culture being unable to become much-concerned with it, content for people to perish, and so be gone, some of them taking their troubling stories and the disturbing psychological impacts of their experineces with them to the grave.

  • What I am saying is that this is the world we live in. Survivors of abuse are diagnosed and labeled. And that process, while fraught, has its uses (as a convenient shorthand) and abuses (its used as a pejorative put-down to create distance, or to condemn).

    I’m not being sarcastic about the youtubers I posted. I have learnt a lot from them and I admire their willingness to be honest about themselves, as well as their determination to overcome. Both of them have no problem at all with the label. Both of them have found some liberation with the label, and both have been fortunate to have the wherewithal to be able to develop self-awareness, and also be able to access the resources they need to grow and learn. I admire that they share their self-development with others and encourage others to believe that they can take back control of their lives, even though, honestly, they admit that the pain can nonetheless be overwhelming at turns, and that they will slip from time to time.

    Because people *can* overcome these patterns. Overcome, in the sense of, learn to be more self-aware. For a long time I was dismissive of mindfulness practices. I freely admit I was being overly cynical. Having looked much more deeply into the application of mindfulness in therapies for people diagnosed with personality disorder, I have come to appreciate its power and why it must be a central component.

    But here’s what happens in a nutshell, the world over. And this has been happening for a long, long time. People get labeled with personality disorder and it is primarily used as a perjorative term. In that sense, it is like a hate crime. I can remember when that insight first dawned on me, and I shared it on the internet, and a number of people sent me messages and thanked me for popping a bubble. I’m not meaning to suggest I was the originator of that insight. Maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t. I’m just menaing to make it clear that I had not encountered it elsewhere, and when I shared it a number of people felt validated by it.

    Moving on… what happens is people are victims of various forms of abuse and neglect in their formative years, and they enter adulthood ill-equipped. And their lives are fraught with pain, and they bring tremendous pain and chaos into the lives of other people too. And they seek help. And the world over that help is dominated by psychiatry. So, they get some kind of acknowledgement, some kind of validation. And that is through mental health systems. Which are either medical or pseudomedical, whichever analysis floats your boat. Either way, what happens next is by and large neglect. Systems are set up in such a way that the troubled and troubling individual, for the most part, cannot access the appropriate resources that would enable them to overcome their problems, or to put it in my preferred way, become the master of their own ship Which in the case of personality disorder, is long-term (intense) therapy. Now reams and reams have been written about this. And psychiatrists are, for the most part (in my view), just as frustrated as everyone else about the fact that resources are being denied. What comes to be called borderline personality disorder is a very serious condition. The rates of suicide and serious self-harm and interpersonal conflict are alarming. And again, whether you wish to frame that as a medical problem or a non-medical problem, the fact remains that these people need and deserve substantial help, and that help, while available (through various therapies, including DBT and MBT and schema and so on) is withheld. And as far as I’m concerned, that is a secondary abuse. The abuse of neglect.

    I agree in principle with the Drop the Disorder campaign. In which they make a strong case for abuse victims not to labeled. What I have also found is that a lot of victims of abuse, particularly the abuse of neglect, don’t consider themselves to be victims of abuse. But whenever I’ve been able to dig deeper with them, palpable, undeniable histories of childhood abuse/neglect is discovered.

    But is that the whole story? Some think not. I’ll quickly sketch out my understanding of why that is so. Whether you agree with me or not is another thing. But at least bear with me…

    I believe that we are not born as a tabula rasa. Babies have personalities. They are not all the same. Maybe personality is not the right word. Tendencies is better. We are all born with tendencies, which are very similar to personalities.

    Why do some people suffer appalling abuse and neglect and not end up with living highly chaotic and emotionally and behaviorally stormy lives, and others don’t?

    I believe, in very simple terms, that those tendencies we are all born with, and which are then affected by our environments, our experiences, includes being born with more or less emotional sensitivity. Some people are simply born way more emotionally sensitive than others. And so what happens next, everything that happens next, during their formative years, is going to be very impactful.

    When highly sensitive individuals are abused/neglected, it is deeply painful for them, in a very lasting way, and impactful in ways that others generally cannot get their heads around. And that determines the development of their personality. I don’t mean to imply that abuse/neglect impacts some and not others. I mean that people who are born with greater sensitivities than others, are going to be impacted even more deeply, are going to suffer even more pain and disarray.

    Sensitivity is not a disorder. In many ways it can be an asset. No, more than that, it should be celebrated as an asset. But the world we live in, by and large, does not celebrate emotionally sensitive children. In fact, in many ways, it seeks to undermine and punish them.

    I agree that it is important to ask: What happened to you? And trauma-informed approaches are vital. But what I keep encountering is a distortion of that approach, which is: “I am a victim. There is nothing wrong with me. I do not need to change. Other people should adapt to me. It is the world which is disordered. Not me.” And I don’t think that is really what the whole call for change is getting at.

    In a nutshell, I think that we need nouns. We need convenient short-hand. The term “personality disorder” offends some people, but the majority are relieved to finally get some recognition. The appalling consequence of being labeled, for most people most of the time, is that perversely the medical label acts more often than not to prevent them from accessing medical help (and in medical help I’m including various intensive psychotherapeutic relationships/approaches that have been shown to help). That to me is the major problem. Not that the label is wrong, or unsuited. But how it functions to basically deny someone help, and bring about medical/societal neglect. I have this idea that if the process of being labeled opened up the doors to substantive help then many people would feel less aggrieved. Because it would mean that to be labeled would signify doors to appropriate, intensive long-term help and support would swing open. And that, surely, would mean the process would be considered a positive one?

    That’s the sum of where I’m coming from.

  • just to add… someone here recommended magnesium for my partners sleep apnea and leg twitching causing her severe sleep disorder.

    she tells me she’s tried that. a few moons ago I talked to a swedish ex-gp with restless legs syndrome. I remember the poor man telling me there were no available treatments left that he hadn’t tried. so he faced a future of sleeplessness, a horrible suffering. although he had a wicked sense of humour,

    for equilibrium, having a good laugh works wonders.

  • Rachel777 wrote: “Frankly RR, I find your remark insulting and i bet others do as well.

    “He wouldn’t have called you an ugly, worthless moron if it didn’t apply to you.”

    Getting “loved ones” labeled BPD is popular with some truly evil people. The wife MAKES her husband beat her before MAKING her shrink “diagnose” her as irredeemably “toxic.”

    There are videos on Youtube popular with misogynists about EVIL women with Borderline Personality Disorder who should all kill themselves. Doesn’t sound like the wives are as evil as the normal husbands does it?”

    You get the full range on Youtube, no mistake.

    There are two youtubers diagnosed with borderline I really rate. One is in the UK and goes by the name Recovery Mum. Here’s a sample of her content:

    And the other I have a lot of time for, for her honesty, which can at times be very difficult, yet worthwhile, is based in Canada, and goes by the name The Borderline Life.

    I highly recommend both to anyone with Borderline who is seeking recovery-focused thinking and contemplation, honesty, insights, and maybe even some community.

  • oldhead wrote: “Once it is simply acknowledged that psychiatry is a branch of law enforcement, not medicine, these questions become less complex. If the regular police are not allowed to use chemical restraints neither should psychiatrists.”

    Yes, how much better it would be if psychiatrists were equipped with Tazers and guns…

  • Apologies for not replying sooner. I didn’t see this until now.

    “I often wonder about the recent exposure of the abuse of children by members of the clergy. Have they avoided the confessional knowing that to do so may result in punishment? Have they forgiven themselves and simply remained silent? Certainly not in some cases. These criminal acts were viewed as “character flaws” to be corrected. And then we find hundreds of victims and a system that failed to adequately deal with these character flaws. Forgiveness is not unlimited, and it should be a standard that all people are held to account on for some sins.”

    Priests are as obligated as any other Catholic to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation aka confession. Any mortal sin is considered reason enough, so yes, I expect lots of priests anonymously confessed to other priests, and that confession would be kept secret, as all others must be. And I expect some also didn’t confess and so kept it secret themselves. Probably others semi-confessed, not revealing that their sexual contact had been with a child. Point being that the Sacranent of Reconciliation is a confession to God, with the priest as witness, and then, also, acting as a spiritual guide, to advise and guide. I expect on many occasions a paedophile priest would unknowingly confess in the presence of another paedophile priest. The one giving the other spiritual guidance before God.

    But no-one avoids the confessional on fear of punishment. As it is protected, similar to how information shared with a doctor or lawyer is protected. Only moreso, in that the confession is anonymous and must not be shared with anyone.

    If you look at the history of the Catholic Church, which is entangled with the history of the aristocracy and upper classes, you’ll come to understand that for a long, long time, many, many centuries, children were abused routinely, they were chattel. In fact, one of the most disturbinbg books ever to be written, in the 18th C., by the Marquis de Sade, 120 Days of Sodom, the debauchery of the Catholic clergy and the aristocracy is made clear. It’s unnerving how things get put aside. In that book a lot of the sexual sadism, torture and then slaughter is against children. It was always a book that was well-known in literary circles. They even made a film version of it in the 1970s. Although in that they play down the paedophilia and play-up the coprophila. Even still, it’s not as if the rumours haven’t abounded for hundreds of years.

    So, really, there are 10s if not 100s of 1000s of victims over many centuries. And only in the past decade has the Catholic church seen fit to clean itself of this ingrained dirt.

  • Steve McCrea wrote: “Finally, the prisoner is assigned a term of punishment according to the crime they commit. Whereas a “mental patient” can be afforded a life sentence of enforced “treatment” that could very well kill them decades before their time, and they have NO right of protest.”

    I was with you until you wrote this. Because you make the assumption that if people were dealt with judiciously, they’d get a deeper justice.

    “As of last year, according to a report released today by the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 3,200 people were serving life in prison without parole for nonviolent crimes. A close examination of these cases by the ACLU reveals just how petty some of these offenses are. People got life for, among other things…

    Possessing a crack pipe
    Possessing a bottle cap containing a trace amount of heroin (too minute to be weighed)
    Having traces of cocaine in clothes pockets that were invisible to the naked eye but detected in lab tests
    Having a single crack rock at home
    Possessing 32 grams of marijuana (worth about $380 in California) with intent to distribute
    Passing out several grams of LSD at a Grateful Dead show
    Acting as a go-between in the sale of $10 worth of marijuana to an undercover cop
    Selling a single crack rock
    Verbally negotiating another man’s sale of two small pieces of fake crack to an undercover cop
    Having a stash of over-the-counter decongestant pills that could be used to make methamphetamine
    Attempting to cash a stolen check
    Possessing stolen scrap metal (the offender was a junk dealer)—10 valves and one elbow pipe
    Possessing stolen wrenches
    Siphoning gasoline from a truck
    Stealing tools from a shed and a welding machine from a front yard
    Shoplifting three belts from a department store
    Shoplifting several digital cameras
    Shoplifting two jerseys from an athletic store
    Taking a television, circular saw, and power converter from a vacant house
    Breaking into a closed liquor store in the middle of the night
    Making a drunken threat to a police officer while handcuffed in the back of a patrol car
    Being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm
    Taking an abusive stepfather’s gun from their shared home
    These are not typically first offenses, but nor are they isolated cases. The vast majority (83 percent) of life sentences examined by the ACLU were mandatory, meaning that the presiding judge had no choice but to sentence the defendant to a life behind bars. Mandatory sentences often result from repeat offender laws and draconian sentencing rules such as these federal standards for drug convictions:”

    The rest here:

    I think it is naive to think that the mad would get a better deal in society if psychiatry stood aside (or was abolished)… because something will fill the gap. And the most likely outcome would be that madness would become increasingly criminalised, and the mad person subjected to equally bad if not worse “treatments”.

    To some degree this has been happening in the UK. Increasingly, mad people are being subjected to all manner of acceptable behaviour contracts that basically seek to curtail their odd or eccentric behaviours, which would not usually be considered criminal, but which can be escalated to a crime.

    One example is a young man with aspergers in the Norfolk area who has an obsession with following and filming the police with his camera. They dragged him through the courts and banned his behaviour and banned him going to all manner of places near his home. In case he took his camera out and filmed the police. Eventually he did a short stint in prison. He was helped to appeal. And all the behaviour orders were dropped. But of course, at great personal cost.

  • My partner insisted I added this:

    Most herbs are very easy to grow at home, from seed, which are incredibly cheap. A window-sill. A backyard. You only need a little bit of space. Fresh herbs are also superior to shop-bought, for obvious reasons. Additionally, highly nutritious meals can be cooked from scratch for mere pennies.

    Here are many meals for less than 50p each. (although you have to factor in the cost of cooking fuel and wotnot).

    Her straightforward hypothesis is that people are child-like and lazy when it comes to preparing and cooking meals. I had to cough over the fact that she was including me in that observation.

    Additionally, there is foraging for edibles. This can be done in both urban and non-urban settings. It is quite amazing how many highly nutritious plants can be foraged for free within a short distance of one’s home. You just have to learn what to look for.

    People usually say: but I have no TIME!

    Translated that means: I have an addiction to the TV and/or computer, and they are sucking the life out of my days, leaving me with no option but to get fat eating crap.

  • Alternatively, the actual reason someone is determined as a person with a personality disorder is because they meet the criteria for that personality disorder.

    The majority of people that meet the criteria for personality disorder never actually get given the diagnosis of personality disorder. They simply go through life with a permanent dust-cloud of chaos behind them which they simply refuse to either look at or deny any involvement in stirring up.

    “If you don’t take any guff from your shrink, you have a personality disorder. If you aren’t compliant with your alleged treatment, you have a personality disorder. If the shrink doesn’t like you, you have a personality disorder. If you don’t “improve” after your alleged treatment, you have a personality disorder. It doesn’t take an Einstein to grasp the essential nature of personality disorders.”

    I’ve done all those things at turns and yet still do not have a diagnosis of personality disorder. In fact, casting the net wider, I’ve known many people do those things and they weren’t given a diagnosis of personality disorder.

    I think what tends to happen is that some people seek the attention of psychiatry, and are found to meet the criteria for a personality disorder, and then throw a wobbly about it.

    Don’t shoot the messenger?

  • vanilla wrote: “Instead of griping about “people abusing power” perhaps we need to find effective ways of dealing with this phenomenon, since it seems pretty impossible to avoid it? Sure, we can clamp down hard on abusers – who’s going to do that? Other people in power! So who decides what’s abuse and what isn’t? People in power!”

    That’s about the sum of it.

    “The United Nations Convention against Corruption is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. The Convention’s far-reaching approach and the mandatory character of many of its provisions make it a unique tool for developing a comprehensive response to a global problem.”

    from here:

    Applying those insights and initiatives to mental healthcare practice is going to be problematic. As this discussion has established, it’s only a minority of people that consider their interactions with psychiatry and/or the mental health system to be corrupt. And of those people, an even smaller number end up self-identifying as anti-psychiatry.

    But it might be a good place to start for people seeking some kind of metric.

  • I am struggling to think of a power that is never abused. I don’t mean to say that the struggle against abuse of power is a pointless one. It isn’t. It’s essential. Yet neverending.

    I know what it means too to be at the receiving end of the abuse of power. In the heat of it come overwhelming fantasies of revenge. In other words, the victim of abuse of power dreams of turning the tables and abusing their power against the emasculated tormentor.

    It’s important to ride that wave and reach calmer waters. Is my take on things.

    The vast majority of people do not frame their psychiatric experiences as abuse of power, once the calm waters have been reached. I know that some do. And I know that many of those frequent here.

    Why they are unable to organise themselves I began to understand and appreciate after closely reading Judi Chamberlin.

  • Thanks for the theoretical considerations, Steve, but back down here on terra firma things do not easily fit into these venn diagrams. There are people in this world whose moral conscience is so impaired it wouldn’t be amiss to describe it as comatose. Should a person with a comatosed moral conscience be afforded equal standing to everyone else?

    If these people are then treated — and it is treatment, even if you don’t like it, treatment is what it is — against their will, then, you have to have the courage to look at it all head on, and then be honest. Because some of these people will have been engaged in rather vile and demeaning behaviours against other people for quite some time. And there will be many victims they’ll have left in their wake.

    And you’re either going to be making excuses for them, and playing at being compassionate, or you are going to be mindful of what compassion really is, or should be, and it isn’t about or shouldn’t be about mollycoddling or “being with” someone whose only true motivation will be to get from you what they can and then toss you into the trash with all the other do-gooders.

    There are exceptions to the rule. And selective memory will favour them. That’s how the cookie crumbles.

    Why do you have a problem with managing social problems? Do you think that serial toxic abusers, who just skim under the threshold of the law, should be protected?

    “Again, a police function exists in essentially all societies, but it should never be confused with a helping agreement between client and professional.”

    I’m talking about people that are not just in denial, and not seeking help. When the shit’s hit the fan (again) they seek help, with renewed vigour. But it only very rarely comes to anything. In fact, with people that have the most pressing needs, benzos and antipsychotics and so on function as the best treatments this society has so far mustered. If this wasn’t the case we’d see the emergence of amazing, transformative treatments. And not just for a tiny showcased few, it’d be hundreds of thousands of toxic ne-er-do-wells flocking to their baptism of awakened conscience.

  • Some people need to be restrained. Toxic abusers, for instance. People that believe that because they had a painful childhood they have a right to destroy other peoples’ equanimity. Including that of children.

    There are some very toxic, abusive and out-and-out antisocial people that become psychiatric patients. Often, drugging these people into submission is the best and most humane approach. Because, left to their own devices and without any formalised social response to their “sickness”, they will go on to manufacture toxicity and bring more dysfunctional people like themselves into the world.b

    You can idealise all you like, but how long would you put up with a toxic abuser in your life? How long until the talk of compassion fails, and you demand that something is done? Or you are showing them the door?

    Psychiatry welcomes them. It offers them a life in which they can limit or remove their toxic abuse of other people. In some cases, this includes robbing them of their sexual function. Again, some people are best off being robbed of their sexual function. For instance, paedophiles.

    Reading here you can get the impression that abuse and abusers only ever occurs in one direction. That the good guys and the bad guys are clealy separated. It’s just plain silly talk.

    If toxic abusers were not an ongoing problem, there would be a much-reduced psychiatric system, and the DSM would never have devoted so much space to delineating the various forms of toxic characterological traits.

    For some people a victim-role can be very attractive. This is especially so for toxic abusers. It’s a great way to bury their misdeeds and their toxicity and project all their nefariousness onto psychiatry.

    Naturally I understand how in the text box anyone can portray themselves as a misunderstood angel. But it doesn’t take too much effort to read between the lines and work out what’s what.

  • The ability to confirm brain damage is limited when it occurs in very young children, is my understanding. At all ages the damage has to be pretty significant to be identified. Knowledge of the brain’s functions are at a very nascent stage. At 18 months old there are so many milestones not yet reached, not least that your personality and sense of self would be very rudimentarily progressed. What you can say sensibly is that there is a probable strong correlation between the accident and the subsequent problems. But no-one can be 100% about it. In the USA heading of the ball in youth soccer games has been removed from the sport. Despite absolute evidence the potential risks are enough to take precautionary action.

    There are lots of mothers (and fathers and so on) that carry burdensome secrets and lies. Every parent makes mistakes. Dreadful accidents happen. You’re right I think in interpreting the motivations to hush-up your accident. If they hadn’t you’d maybe have ended up in care or with foster parents.

    A friend of mine took severe burns when he was a toddler. Right down one side of his face and all over his chest. His mother had turned her back from the stove for mere seconds, and he’d reached up with his hand to the pot handle. When he first took off his shirt I was very shocked at the disfigurement. After a while it doesn’t matter.

    All families have secrets and lies. It is important for those lies to be confronted. It’s all in the open now for you and your mom. But like my friend’s mother, she’ll never get over the guilt. So really, if you can forgive her, you’ll stop torturing her conscience any more than it already is, I expect.

  • @johnchristine

    The case you make for restorative justice is an interesting one. I agree with you too that forced treatment can meet the threshold of torture, and I have also had the misfortune of that experience.

    What source are you referring to in regards the car accident? Naturally you wouldn’t be able to have a direct memory of the incident. I was just wondering how you constructed a counternarrative?

    I’m ambivalent about the torture. I can’t get worked up about it. It was wrong. Of course it was wrong. And I can’t abide the thought of it happening to other people. Even still I remain ambivalent about it. Perhaps the torture damaged my brain’s emotional range. Or maybe I’ve been lucky to adjust, in a fashion.

  • There are papers in media studies that tackle the problem of online spaces and dominant voices. The main concern seems to be that the louder voices wield unrepresentative power, influencing the conversation in a way that inadvertently — or intentionally — sidelines others and narrows the purview.

    And when studies rely on collating online voices from blogs and the world wide commentariat, their findings become skewed with these biases.

    Sometimes I think it would be a good idea to ration commenting. I dunno, say a maximum of ten comments per week. All across the internet. Perhaps five comments a week per website would be reasonable. That would also address the ethical problem of addictive commenting and whether a place concerned with psychosocial harmony should enable addictive compulsions.

    I don’t have any substantial quibbles about the moderation here. I didn’t fill in the survey. If I had I would have suggested rationing the louder and more pervasive voices.

    Another feature you might wish to consider is the editor’s pick. The Guardian do this. They select a few comments and place them at the top. These aren’t always the most liked comments.

  • Psychiatry survived the Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany and the Rise and Fall of the USSR. It thrives during both crisis and calm.

    Its power is extended via a mandate with the state. When the state changes, psychiatry enjoys a new mandate. New mandates in the past have included forced sterilisation, forced labour camps, clearing mine fields by walking through them, denoting political dissidence and civil disobedience as ill and pathologising it, aligning and legitimising the state’s surveillance apparatus, conducting and burying unlawful in vivo human experiments and more broadly, to explain away civil discontentedness with broad brushstroke narratives, such as the chemical imbalance hypothesis.

    Psychiatry survived all that and thus there is no reason to believe it could not survive any possible scandal or mass awakening about mass drugging and psychosocial categorising. In many ways such a scandal would be a minnow compared to say, the scandal and outcry that never was about the few known horrors of MKULTRA.

    Psychiatry has survived the countercultural revolution, two world wars, the cold war, Nazism, Communism, and is to be found, snug as a bug in a rug, in every country in the so-called top 50 best places to live in the world.

    Psychiatry is an essential tool in any democratic and non-democratic state’s armamentarium.

  • An occasional bout of flyting can be healthy.

    Whenever I’ve moved someone away from extremist thinking on here, and made a solid case for more balance, the discourse abruptly ends, or tails off into diversion, or digresses violently, or nitpicks itself into a hole.

    Anosognosia is sometimes an accurate description of someone’s state of mind or being or whatever. As you rightly say, it can also be used as a weapon. But then, what is there in life that cannot be subverted?

    Even if a concept is sometimes subverted that does not equate to the entire invalidity of that same concept.

    Anosognosia is a sometimes misused concept. Anosognosia happens.

  • You’re savvy with computers, Julie. The LIKE script is likely to be a third party add-on which you can then block with a decent blocker-app for your browser. For extremely granular control of scripts I recommend UMatrix. But there are many others. You should also be using a Cookie Manager if you aren’t already.

    Some sites are playing catchy monkey with add-ons in your browser that blocks ads, trackers and unwanted scripts. It’s your machine after all and you get the final say on what runs on it. The information industries are generally opposed to that freedom.

    In that case, look into changing your DNS provider to one that blocks many ads and trackers before they even reach your machine. These are very effective and cannot be detected in your browser.

    The LIKE button plays many roles. Clearly it also distills a lot of anxiety. One unforseen consequence is that it can become a tool of passive aggression. In that some people compulsively use it as a weapon, liking just about anything their clique post. I suppose that can perform the function of cementing associations.

    From a forsensic analysis vantage, LIKEs deepen the profile of the data subject. Algorithms can group people and machine learning enables quite accurate predictions, after a period of time.

    And I have noted before now, there is a third party behavioural analysis script that runs here, watching your every move.

    In short, if you don’t want the LIKE function to be a part of your madinamerica experience, block it.

  • danzig666 wrote: “Have you read the poem written by Zombie boy, before his death? I was thinking about it deeply.”

    I have read it, yes. It’s in the public domain so no problem reproducing it.


    O Damballa
    Lo we howl upon stars hung above
    We soul cast down the well of stone
    As fire laid betwixt two fates
    Of most drear less dire straights
    Each breath cuts ice as flesh is weighed
    In front of deaths old narrow gates
    Where bold and brazen last rites crate
    Lo heed our wish of madness
    Deep from os
    Our prayers we kissed
    So stern and cold
    On metal shells
    Release by moonlight glow

    He obviously wasn’t in a good frame of mind when he wrote this. It is an exceptionally poor poem, even if we assume he wrote it knowing his decided fate. It is a terrible shame when narcissists seek fame — absolutely must have fame — but have no other talent than their actual being, and become, like ZombieBoy, a “freak” to be looked at, to cause discomfort. And that being the sum of it. I think he appeared in a LadyGaga video, and through her encouragment, did a bit of modelling work. But the novelty wears off. And no-one is much interested in the zombieboy look of Zombieboy. So zombieboy is dead as a concept. he got into the guinness book of records for having the most insect tattoos.

    Personally, if I knew him, I’d have advised him to seriously consider henna. He would then have allowed himself a future self, that could be reinvented.

    What deep thoughts did you have about his poem?

  • My main focus is on organically-grown produce. We’ve learnt this year about the benefit of allocating wild areas. It brings in new predators and gives shelter to the frogs.

    I probably will end up checking out an orthomolecular practitioner someday. It’s one of the few alternatives I haven’t yet given a run out. The nearest practitioner is about 1.5 miles away.

  • The psychology of persuasion is a very interesting area. Suggestibility, hypnotism, power, various confirmational and affirmational biases… you can learn a lot about how the mind deceives itself through exploring these areas.

  • I wish you all the best too. I’m sorry you had inner monsters and lacked strength and balance. I don’t believe that to be what is typically at the heart of mania or psychosis for most people.

    I cannot comment on “Sean’s therapy” because I only know about the holotropic breathwork, as that is widely discussed, but this “new therapy” that heals schizophrenia is not available to discuss and as you’ve pointed out, does not involve holotropic breathwork.

  • Would you be willing to make these drug statements publicly available?

    For instance I would be much better reassured to have such a drug statement as part of my advance directive. Now and again I am dragged into the you-need-antipsychotics tango. So far so good but my main professional ally has now retired, and while her presence is still felt, her influence is fading. Sadly I cannot add in the tardive akathisia and dyskinesia as no-one is even willing to assess for it.

    Come to think of it templates to cover all main drug classes would be pretty cool to make publicly available.

  • @ Sean Blackwell

    You are mistaken. I wasn’t looking for something negative to pounce on when I watched your video. I was curious to see what you were up to with regards my bipolar comrades. Kirsten asserted that you did not work with people with mental disorders using oxygen-depletion techniques. This misrepresented your presentation to Ron and another of your inner circle. So I skipped through the video again, found the relevant bits, transcribed them, and wrote them down here.

    In that sense I was positively reinforcing you. Because — contrary to what Kirstin indicated — you do invite people with serious mental disorders to deplete their bodies and brains of oxygen for significant periods of time.

    And you call that Holotropic Breathing. A term coined by Stanislav Grof who decided it would mean “moving in the direction of wholeness.” Of course, that is a rather biased definition. Although, the term is a registered trademark so may as well give it a superpositive spin, ja? Depriving the brain of oxygen for extended periods of time may just as well move a person in the direction of disintegration. And in fact, the practice was banned in Scotland precisely because the majority of people were being harmed by this quackery. Maybe many of them were being neither helped nor harmed. And it was just that Scotland wasn’t ready for its people to be screaming and writhing and shitting themselves in community halls in the name of curing severe and enduring mental illness.

    ” I could bring 100 healed clients to your home…”

    No you couldn’t. That’s pure exaggeration, rhetoric.

    “So, rest assured, if you ever want to stop me from working with someone that you know, I won’t go near them. I don’t need that kind of hassle. Of course, whoever you are trying to protect will never have an opportunity to do such deep, lasting healing like Kerstin, Moni and “Magdalena” did, but not everyone is as lucky as they were to have such supportive families.”

    That’s the hook. And it suggests to me that you do have some awareness of advertising techniques, as you often claim advertising as your background.

    It is the messianic hook. Only those that pass through you can enjoy the healings of your inner circle. Those that seek to deny you are unsupportive and against healing.

    Nope. I am against quackery. I would advise anyone against committing their time, money or faith to anyone offering them 2 weeks in Brazil shitting themselves silly and writhing around in the screaming abdabs. Simple common sense.

    For anyone whose curiosity is piqued, I’d recommend reading through these:

    Vulnerability to Quackery

    Spontaneous Remission and the Placebo Effect

    Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to Work

    This last link harbours this incisive and pertinent observation:

    “Even when no objective improvement occurs, people with a strong psychological investment in “alternative medicine” can convince themselves they have been helped. According to cognitive dissonance theory, when experiences contradict existing attitudes, feelings, or knowledge, mental distress is produced. People tend to alleviate this discord by reinterpreting (distorting) the offending information. If no relief occurs after committing time, money, and “face” to an alternate course of treatment (and perhaps to the worldview of which it is a part), internal disharmony can result. Rather than admit to themselves or to others that their efforts have been a waste, many people find some redeeming value in the treatment. Core beliefs tend to be vigorously defended by warping perception and memory. Fringe practitioners and their clients are prone to misinterpret cues and remember things as they wish they had happened. They may be selective in what they recall, overestimating their apparent successes while ignoring, downplaying, or explaining away their failures. The scientific method evolved in large part to reduce the impact of this human penchant for jumping to congenial conclusions. In addition, people normally feel obligated to reciprocate when someone does them a good turn. Since most “alternative” therapists sincerely believe they are helping, it is only natural that patients would want to please them in return. Without patients necessarily realizing it, such obligations are sufficient to inflate their perception of how much benefit they have received.”

  • Thanks for the reply, Julia.

    I absolutely endorse your work and your point of view. And these days, the food chain is so complex and somewhat compromised, it’s definitely a worthy avenue for people to explore. For instance, I’ve known and read a number of people who have all but eradicated their child’s so-called pathology through carely (and with a lot of effort) eradicating certain foods/chemicals/additives from their diets.

    What’s going to be difficult for many people are getting hold of truly organic produce. Most supermarket fruits and fruit-products are very low in vitamins and minerals. Or so I’m told.

  • Neither myself nor my partner eat processed food. Pretty much none at all. In recent years we’ve improved an already excellent diet by growing our own fruit, veg and salads. Next year we’re hoping to start off some olive trees.

    We’re both very active. She probably speed-walks now on average 50 miles per week. Following my achilles injury I’ve returned to biking, as when ridden correctly, there should be minimum strain on the achilles. I’m averaging about 100 miles per week.

    Despite this, she continues to be regularly suicidal and I continue to be as mad as a hatter.

    Results are obviously going to be better felt by people eating very poor diets and leading indolent lifestyles.

    But food and exercise kinda hits a plateua, and from that point you’re on your own. There isn’t anything an extra banana or a few more gruelling miles down bumpy canal paths is going to do for you, other than, add a little scenery or a moment of oral pleasure to your madness, which is no bad thing.

    So probably some people will be significantly helped, but most will be rudely disappointed.

  • The “safe setting” is a house in the middle of nowhere that has a medium sized swimming pool in the back. Mr Blakewell shows us a photo of this “safe setting” in his presentation.

    He doesn’t say what makes it safe, beyond the fact that he’d like to buy it one day.

    My question would be, given that holotropic breathing is conducted lying prostrate and with eyes closed, why exactly is one building considered more safe than any other?

    All I can think is that the stomach-churning horrified screaming and yelling and gurning and orgasmic panting and gargling and the vomiting, shitting and pissing might upset the neighbours who might be concerned for the wellbeing of the people inside.

    No concerned neighbours = safety?

    And for whom?

  • Kerstin wrote: “and from what I have understood, people with mental disorders are not accepted or recommended to try the holotropic breathwork techniques.”

    At 26:30 Mr Blakewell says:

    “The majority of [holotropic breathing] facilitators will not work with people with diagnosed mental disorders because they feel they don’t have the safe setting and they’re afraid that they’ll be opening up a bigger psychological process that they’re not prepared to support and so generally it’s contrary indicated (sic) … to work with people with bipolar disorder… BUT!… y’know because we have a retreat, we have a safe environment, the Bipolar clients have our complete attention… […] and so we breathe with the client almost every day of our retreat process.”

  • from: “How to Train a Woman Like a Dog”

    “OK, so some people will have their panties in a twist over the title to this article. Admittedly, it’s a bit clickbaitish, but not without good reason. How to train your woman like a dog is a title that pays homage to Karen Salmansohn’s book, “How to Make Your Man Behave in 21 Days or Less Using the Secrets of Professional Dog Trainers.” It is just one offering in an entire genre of literature that people would say is dehumanizing to men. That is, if they cared about men.

    So, if you are triggered by the title of this piece, imagine how many shits I have that I don’t give. Unless you can document your public objection to “men as dogs” literature, I don’t want to hear a thing you have to say. With that, let’s move past the sardonic introduction to this article and into what I am really saying.

    One, I am not equating women to dogs, and not just because dogs are loyal and unconditionally loving. I am actually starting with the proposition that no human beings, male or female, rise to the level of a canine in terms of worthiness. If we remember that, and don’t expect perfection from ourselves or others, it really helps avoid disappointment.”

    @ Steve McCrea

    What do you think of Karen Salmansohn’s book, “How to Make Your Man Behave in 21 Days or Less Using the Secrets of Professional Dog Trainers.” ?

  • (apologies for the off-topic aside)

    streetphotobeing wrote: “Follow the biology and you will be free of severe anxiety/insomnia and migraine to boot.”

    I am interested in a cure for severe insomnia. Even a decent remedy would be a god-send.

    Also, I have a friend who’s been on and off ssris from the beginning of their teens. They now have some kind of sleep apnea/leg kicking syndrome that wakes them up many, many times during the night. They are in a permanent state of knackerage. And this surely contributes to their emotional irritability and wotnot. Their GP dissociates whenever this problem is mentioned. Same too all other health professionals. I have established it as fact that these problems are occuring, every night of their lives. Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Thanks for replying, Kerstin. I’m not wishing to comment directly on your personal experience. It’s good you feel good. Sincerely.

    Kerstin wrote: “Sean is not actually doing holotrophic breathwork, and from what I have understood, people with mental disorders are not accepted or recommended to try the holotrophic breathwork techniques.”

    I chanced upon Mr Blakewell some years ago, when he was uploading his BipolarOrWakingUp? to youtube. His bipolar story was different then. It was all about one of his young nieces going crazy and getting a bipolar diagnosis. Now the story is he was in hospital for four days because of a spiritual crisis.

    That aside,

    please watch the video Mr Unger posted of an interview conducted by Mr Unger with Sean uploaded 6 March 2018.

    At 19:13 Mr Blakewell says: “”Once we’re on this retreat, we’ve got the perfect space, the set and setting, what are we doing, what are we doing to liberate the trauma? First thing we-re doing — and the most important aspect — is holotropic breathwork.”

    Kerstin wrote: “..dangerous layer of existance best permanently avoided.” That sounded interesting. Do you have any views on that?”

    Yes, lots. I am very sceptical about the entire New Age/California dreaming movement. I am not sceptical about the power of hypnotism, rhythmic drumming, and altered states. Suggestibility is a powerful tool. Those put under hypnosis through techniques that starve the brain and body of oxygen become just as suggestible as people hypnotised with more mainstream methods… only the holotropic breathers are “invited” once hypnotised to lay themselves open to a deeper hypnotic state, in which they are now infiltrated by the will of an other. It is no wonder that many freak out in the feeling of being possessed by a demon or suchlike. They literally have been possessed. Their autonomy has been compromised.

  • Interesting promotional article for what are generally considered to be potentially very dangerous techniques.

    “What is happening here is that the psyche is being opened to a stratum of existence that it would not otherwise have contacted, and which is anything but benevolent. Could it be that the deviant “archetypes” experienced are not part of the individual’s unconscious but rather a dangerous layer of existence best permanently avoided?

    My primary concern in the foregoing is the damage done to the evolutionary (developmental) potential of literally thousands of trusting people, likewise to the physical health of far too many casualties in the form of serious after-effects following the use of certain techniques and practices and ranging from nervous breakdown to insanity. I am not using conjecture here; I have personally spoken with numerous damaged and disoriented individuals, a large number immediately following the Holotropic Breathwork sessions held at the Findhorn Foundation in Morayshire, Scotland in the early 1990s, some of which were initially presided over by Stanislav Grof himself. (These extreme hyperventilation sessions required the inclusion of buckets, bowls and plastic bags for the violent vomiting and loss of bladder and bowel control by the participants – and the screaming was such that the area surrounding the venue in which the sessions were held was placed out of bounds to community members and visitors alike.)

    I have also spoken with local doctors at the Health Centre in nearby Forres, who were aware of the aftermath consequences, and whose concern was such that they placed a notice in the local press dissociating themselves from what was occurring. I spoke, too, with senior officials from the Scottish Charities Office (SCO), who had previously been informed of these matters by a deeply concerned retired GP and World Health Organisation consultant at that time living in Forres – incidentally, one of the early members of the SMN who had worked for five years with George Blaker. The SCO promptly sent an interviewer to investigate further, and as a consequence commissioned a report from a top [medical] forensics Professor at the University of Edinburgh, which (due to the legalities involved) led to the suspension of all Breathwork activities sponsored by the Findhorn Foundation (see S. Castro, Hypocrisy and Dissent within the Findhorn Foundation, 1996, chapter six).”

    from here:

  • That’s all a bit black and white for my tastes.

    And it doesn’t answer the question I posed: Should acting out in a troubling or troublesome way not be subject to some form of social control?

    Psychiatry is incapable of banning personal truth. I accept that some people give way to its narratives, against their own better judgement. Others eventually come to terms with the follies of their imaginations, and take some solace in psychiatric meanings. Often too people are able to hold contradictory explanatory narratives about their psychotic experiences, perhaps half-believing in their personal take on things, and half-believing in psychiatric interpretations… and moving in and out of different personal meanings. That sounds more human to me. More natural and more in keeping with how personal narratives and the self works… in that we, all that is inside of us and outside of us, are in constant flux.

    People are more subtle than you seem to be giving them credit for, they are way more sophisticated. At least that’s my view of people.

  • marks ps2 wrote that Eric Coates wrote: “When your problems are blamed on your brain (PSYCHOTIC), for instance, rather than taking into account an abusive childhood or, say, living in poverty and a dangerous neighborhood, all of which might be caused (as there is more abuse in impoverished environments) by the lack of work opportunities or a decent wage that are not being supplied by the capitalist corporations that control nearly our whole economy”

    I wasn’t aware that Eric Coates had an abusive childhood, was living in poverty in a dangerous neighbourhood and so on. I was under the impression he had the fortune of living in a middle class milieu?

    If what you are suggesting here is true then why are the classic psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia not more prevalent in the most harsh inner city settings of the world, such as the favellas of Brazil?

    Being jumpy and paranoid is not being psychotic. It’s being jumpy and paranoid.

    A big problem I think is that these severe states of mind have been watered down in the popular imagination. Instead of being rare events they are now part of some universal experience.

    I’m not sure what has made that happen. It wouldn’t be just one thing. Psychiatry is generally blamed for this but I don’t consider that to be the full answer.

    Here’s an example. I got talking to a small group of young men recently. One of them goes to me, quite randomly: “I’m schizophrenic. I get the schizophrenic days.”

    I asks, “O, I see. You have complex delusions and sometimes complex hallucinations and such like?”

    “No, no,” he goes, “I get the schizophrenic days. Y’know, where your mind wanders a lot and you can’t keep going at stuff, and just want to go with the flow but the flow is all over the place.”

    One of his buddies kept saying, “I can’t have this conversation. My ADD keeps kicking in.”

    Puzzled me that one.

    I like the idea that you believe, or seem to be intimating, that if adverse life events were eradicated from life then psychosis would no longer manifest.

    Why do you believe this?

  • danzig666 wrote: “Psychosis is a style of thinking/feeling which is banned…”

    Is it? I don’t think that it is. Given that’s a very specific definition.

    It’s not psychosis that is banned. It’s the troubling and troublesome acting out. Psychosis is free to rise and fall wherever and whenever it wishes. Always has and always will.

    People like me suffer through psychosis without anyone banning it (or attempting to, morelike), without any psychiatric attempt to snuff it out.

    If the drugs worked for me like they work for others I’d choose to take them, happily.

    Acting out during psychosis is where the problems begin, and you will undoubtedly start flashing on multiple radars.

    Should acting out in a troubling or troublesome way not be subject to some form of social control?

  • Just goes to show that many, many peoples’ mental problems these days are mostly if not entirely situational and relatively mild and can be overcome by abandoning pathologisation and simply remembering that life is messy and chaotic and something to be lived, sometimes in pain, sometimes in joy, mostly in mediocrity.

    Zealots on here will inevitably attempt to exploit narratives like these. They want stories like these to demonstrate that everyones’ problems are mild and situational and non-pathological.

    As a non-zealot I wish to congratulate Mr Ronco for his abandonment of pathology. Particularly because it seems clear he was never an appropriate target for it. Some peoples’ bad luck turns out to be good luck, in time.

  • Steve McCrea wrote: “I wonder how long you’d take your car to a mechanic who said your car’s engine doesn’t work because it has “repair-resistant fuel injectors?” INFURIATING!”

    It won’t be too long, Steve. People want a new kind of consumer language that protects their feelings. A car mechanic is nowadays going to tell you that your broken fuel injector is beyond repair, is utterly knackered. I don’t think people generally want to hear that kind of language about their brains. And then to be told that the only practical option is to have a transplant.

    These car metaphors don’t work though. Because the engine is the body and the brain is the person behind the wheel.

    But? Julie Greene wrote:

    “Interestingly, people are built better than cars. Cars do not have decision-making power, nor do they grow as they age, nor do they have the wisdom and insight that humans have. They don’t reason. They cannot take care of themselves.”

    Artificial intelligence is coming on apace to replace that less-than-perfect driver behind the wheel. I’m surprised you’ve taken this flawed metaphor and run on with it, given we live in the age of the emergent autonomous vehicle.

    This discussion is back to the MIA obsession with the infallible and perfect human brain that never gets knackered or becomes beyond repair. This is a widespread faith here, shored up by the sub-belief that all possible things that can go wrong with the brain are known and dealt with by neurology… everything else is a fiction or the result of psychiatric drugs. MIA’s number one scapegoat.

    In other words, if the mechanic considers the vehicle a write-off, it’s the mechanic’s fault for projecting negative feelings onto the engine.

  • “what is the problem with the model bio/psy/soc…”

    Fundamentally, it is not a model in any scientific sense. It’s a buzz-word that people such as yourself scatter around believing that to do so is some kind of act of seeding a new psychiatry into the world; whereas, despite the buzz-words, psychiatry is now more biological than any other time in its history.

    Of course, if you know something about the biopsychosocial model that actually makes it a scientific model, then please share your knowledge.

    Otherwise, if you genuinely wish to think deeper into why the biopsychosocial model is not a model you might make a start with reading here

    or here

  • There is a humour to be found in depression. I’m making it sound simple. Perhaps because it is simple. All you have to do is allow your inner joker to breathe, and before you know it, little beads of joy will fall upon you.

    I remember only once being reduced almost to tears in one conversation with one particular psychiatrist. He was on the brink of joy too. I am sure of it. We were talking about bipolar and magnets. Attract and repel.

    It is true that in the manic phase people are drawn to me when I’m out and about. A phrase I often hear is: “I’ve never told anyone about all this before.”

    When people feel safe, they open up. I think beforehand they’ve picked up on the energy and it’s enraptured them in some way.

    It is a wonderful thing.

    It feels good to buzz off people. People start to wake up when they laugh a lot. A levity washes through them. A sparkle returns to their eyes.

    For every person there is a funny thought or an amusing story or an absurd circumstance that can break the magic spell of their unbudgeable downer.

    Everyone has the capacity for joy and laughter.

  • Thanks for writing this, Mr Discher. The horrors are not, as you write, all now echoes in longago corridors.

    I agree that psychiatric history needs to be more often told, and some sacred cows need to be reassessed. Starting at the beginning, with Kraepelin. I can understand the reluctance to revise history, especially of the Godfather of modern psychiatry. But I agree with Lehmann that any commemorative plaque should make reference to the eugenics holocaust, as it’s a vital link in the chain.

    Why not organise an alternative “commemoration” of Kraepelin?

  • The black market trade in cocaine is the drug people are mostly turning to, in ever-increasing numbers, as a fast fix involving a fast mood change. Typically within 10-15 minutes of insufflation the mood has markedly changed.

    SSRIs can’t compete with cocaine. Whether it’s speed of mood fix, lack of side effects, deaths, or attempted withdrawal drama. Cocaine is the outright winner in all categories.

    If there was a pill for everything there would be no war, no divorce lawyers, and most tantalisingly, no Love Island.

    I would like a new drug that if I took it on a regular basis it would mimic the person I would now be had I never taken psychiatric drugs.

    Drugs can transform mediocre artists into exceptional artists.

    Antipsychotics can transform exceptional artists into mundane quit-artists. I respect their nihilistic power as I respect thermonuclear weapons.

  • there is such a thing as mental illness in the sense of it being a hypothetical/metaphorical narrative that attempts to explain what mania and psychosis and depression and so on is – when the cause remains so far unknown.

    there are lots of other causes of mania and psychosis and depression and so on that are known. for instance, brain tumours, kidney failure, alcoholism…

    mania and psychosis are not invented things. they point to actual lived experiences that manifest in the world.

    i know, i know, you and oldhead insist that if science can’t examine it directly and if language can’t narrow it down with exactitude then for you it has no basis in reality whatsoever.

    which is why you must also think that love is a lie. after all, science cannot examine love directly and who invented this ridiculous word love anyway? it means different things to different people and is therefore meaningless.

    no-one is going to take you seriously if you persist with claiming that mania and psychosis don’t exist. other than other flat-earthers, of course.

  • I think you’re onto something with that definition.

    Bipolar is something embodied and manifests in situations. Or to put it even simpler, bipolar is a state of being in an environment.

    There are gregarious people that become mute and withdrawn in certain situations. There are confident actors who fall to pieces when trying to order in restaurants.

    So bipolar is simply a more extreme example of contradictory states that can come about in the same person.

    Where do the hallucinations, mixed states, anhedonia, insomnia, grandiosity and complex delusions fit in? They don’t all have obvious opposites. In fact mixed states are opposites somehow co-existing.

    What’s the extreme opposite of an hallucination? Not hallucinating? A coma?

    I don’t understand this and am backing away again.

  • Steve McCrea wrote: “Because you can easily and reliably separate people with broken legs from people who don’t have them by a simple x-ray.”

    This isn’t a convincing potrayal of modern general medicine. It deliberately ignores the functional disorders. Functional disorders such as fibromyalgia, dementia, interstitial cystitis, migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome and so on are untestable yet given names and treated by general medicine.

    Wikipedia wrote: “Generally, the mechanism that causes a functional disorder is unknown, poorly understood, or occasionally unimportant for treatment purposes. The brain or nerves are often believed to be involved. It is common that a person with one functional disorder will have others.”

    Steve McCrea wrote: “It’s not right to tell people that they “have depression” when they may literally have NOTHING in common with another person who “has depression” except for how they feel.”

    Isn’t that all the word depression does? The chemical imbalance narrative is something people can take or leave.

    You have a problem in your brain. Take a drug, feel better. Now that you feel better you might be more motivated to tackle the psychosocial problems fomenting your unhappiness. You may also be at risk from finding the motivation to kill yourself. This is why it is important to identify people at risk and do something socially to help them.

    I agree that not enough is done socially. As littleturtle has put it previously: there is too much biobiobio and not enough biopsychosocial.

    But must the bio be the first action to take?

    Probably not. And so there needs to be much more nuance. As discussed in the Power Threat Meaning discourse.

    One major problem of that discourse is how many will consider its recommendations as politicised. Although I don’t know how it would be possible to critique any mental health system without getting the government hot and bothered.

    Unipolar sounds like a bipolar that has had their mania amputated.

  • I hope you don’t mind me flagging the good bits.

    Chris Cole wrote: “Part of our challenge with social justice and mental health is that so many bipolar folks need to remain closeted to survive. When I was having manic episodes, I didn’t know anyone else who had ever had a single experience like mine. When I say, “I’m bipolar,” I’m acknowledging that there is something different about me neurologically that makes me more sensitive to emotional, sensory, and energetic shifts. I wholeheartedly feel that I can be bipolar, as a distinction from psychiatric disorder or illness. The discomfort of painful symptoms exists in the relationship between my neurodivergent body and a society which marginalizes difference. My disability exists primarily between bodies, in the crowded spaces of ignorance and intolerance.”

    The best place I ever found for all this was in the setting of a lovely Norwegian family, and a big old fire and mountains in every direction. On that occasion I was high despite of the high doses of Depakote (a word which conjures indigenous tribes and animal skins and obscure hallucinogenic flower-buds)… maybe the Depakote Tribe did hold me back a little, in conjunction with the warm and welcoming Norwegian family…

    It was there I truly learnt the power of the mountains and Nature’s harsh lessons awaiting. You’re never on your own in the wild, even in solitude. In the darkening woods eyes are watching you. The crow circles you, expectant.

    What magnificent wildernesses aware of you in North America. So why suffer the bright artificial lights and the artificial challenges.

    As many of the writers you allude to agree on: the challenge of Nature is within you, and you either make it mythic or a tragicomedy.

    I’m very skilled at tragicomedy. All mad people are.

  • What is the difference between bipolar and schizophrenia? A GP claimed it was insight. Bipolarites and Bipolaresses retain insight. Whereas people deemed schizophrenic don’t. Schizophrenia I’m told is the lack of insight. Similar symptoms but the loss of the insight mojo?

  • Chris Cole wrote: “I want the world to be a safer place for extreme states, states of madness, altered states of consciousness, mental health crises, and mental illness of all kinds. This is what is most important to me. If I can help it, the language used to get us there will serve as a tool toward deeper understanding and higher complexity. This is why I’m “proud,” and “mad,” ,,,”

    Can’t argue with that. Nice one. Shake hands. Can we go back to “manic depression”?

  • @ Chris Cole

    Thanks for bringing something slightly newish and less samey to the table. I have been trying to rid myself of the Bipolar label for some time now. I’d rather have a schizoaffective label. What is the difference between a scizophrenic and a bipolar? I think the only difference is that a schizophrenic embodies their delusions and a bipolar is able to step outside of them and talk about them objectively.

    I would be behind you with the idea of reclaiming the term bipolar if I didn’t know that the term was coined by an ex-Nazi psychiatrist who undoubtedly sent many of our German brothers an sisters to their untimely deaths.

    Dr Karl Leonard.

    He then went on to work for the East German Stasi. I expect the process of moving from being a Nazi psychiatrist to a Stasi psychiatrist was relatively seamless.

    Bipolaren Affective Storung.

  • Flabberghasts me when you write about “bipolar” this way, given that it’s the sexiest and most on-trend label of them all. It is the high-end label. The haute couture of the psychiatric world (Bipolar 2 is like when people wear cheap t-shirts with designer labels printed on them).

    I think the problem is that these exclusive labels have become way too common.

    What do you mean, Bipolar? Is that Bipolar First Class or Bipolar Standard Class?

    The most horrifying experience is the mixed state. High and low at the same time. Spooky.

    Borderline Personality Disorder is the most socially mangling label. But then is it just the label that causes the social mangling, or is it the actual behaviour that the label attempts to categorise?

    I have had many of what some people describe as spiritual or supernatural experiences and they aren’t something I’d recommend or look forward to. I have encountered a few people online that reckon they have broken through to a higher state of consciousness because of bipolar. And yet their metaphors are staid and cliched. Maybe that is some unspoken truth about the Higher Levels? They are utterly devoid of creative spark and originality? The Higher Levels are where people become acutely in balance with their inner tedium?

    Other humans beings can have a stimulant effect. And bipolarites and bipolaresses must avoid stimulants at all costs. I think this is why so many bipolar self-declared geniuses end up in the theatre.

    Audience – check
    Centre of attention – check
    Be someone else – check
    Clearly demarcated beginning, middle and end – check
    Ability to disappear under the guise of one’s authentic bewildered self – check
    Still lonely in a crowd – check

    O darling, that’s absolutely lovely, ‘int it an’ all?

  • Got me thinking. I did push to have a brain scan. Got all the way to sitting in a room with a neurologist and a nurse and gently they took turns pricking my conscience: “We have long waiting lists”; “There are very sick children.”; “Even if you are brain damaged there isn’t anything we can do about it.”

    So I gave in.

    I mentioned it again to a new psychiatric nurse I got allocated. He was a top bloke, was open to progressive ideas. But I kept missing appointments, unintentionally. And so a lost opportunity as he said he would back me up for a brain scan.

    But now I see the everyone was half-right. It’s not a brain scan looking for brain damage I need; it’s a thorough neurological examination. But like you say, even a neurologist can miss things. It takes a lot of work. I just can’t see the NHS Trust approving such an investigation. Especially as it could conclude with no known condition found.

    But that list you make of the many factors that can cause psychosis and mania. There must be many more unknowns.

    Thanks again for boosting my thinking around all this. I suppose your perspective is Is Psychosis a Natural Neurological Disorder?

    It would be quite devastating to discover I had a treatable neurological disorder this late in my life. But I wouldn’t be complaining if it was treatable!

  • If it was a severe psychosis it would more often than not overcome you so intensely and rapidly you would be negotiating it with an impaired ability to rationalise, as you would be now rationalising within a severe psychosis.

    A lot of the time it is concerned others who sound the alarm and seek help. In that instance a thorough physical assessment would be the best first approach at nailing things down.

    But you have never suffered a severe psychosis so a little bit of naivete is inevitable.